Lady Blue Devils force Everett girls to two overtimes for win

On paper, it looked as if once-beaten Everett (11-1) would have little trouble disposing of a Bellwood-Antis team (6-6) that has had trouble getting over and staying over the .500 mark.
Fortunately for the Lady Blue Devils however, high school games are played on basketball courts, not paper. Everett did manage to pull out a win, but the Bellwood-Antis girls forced the Lady Warriors into two overtime periods before Everett finally was able to edge the pesky Lady Blue Devils 65-63 for the 11th win in 12 ballgames.
The game featured a matchup of two of the best big girls in the area in Everett’s 6-1 Amy Cessna and the Blue Devils 6-0 Lauren Carter. This battle was well worth the price of a ticket all by itself. Cessna’s team came away with the victory and Cessna scored 25 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to do her usual large part. Carter, went her Everett foe one or two steps better however, with a monster performance, scoring a game-high 27 points, with 20 rebounds, eight blocked shots and four steals.
There was no junior varsity game to lead off the action and between the unusual varsity starting time of 7 p.m. with no Jayvee game and the long bus trip, the B-A girls didn’t seem able to get things going at the start.
With Cessna scoring a dozen points and with Andrea Layton adding nine more, Everett took scoring advantages of 17-7 and 18-11 over the first two quarters to waltz through the first half with a 35-18 lead at halftime.
“This was a different atmosphere for us,” explained Bellwood-Antis coach Nick Lovrich. “Were are used to having the Jayvee game beforehand and kind of get settled in. Tonight we didn’t get settled in until the second half.”
The Lady Blue Devils came out of the locker room for the third quarter blazing hot. The B-A defense limited Cessna to zero points. Carter scored nine points in the quarter, freshman Ashley Lechner pumped in a pair of three-pointers and Bellwood-Antis outscored Everett 19-5 to close to three points, 40-37.
“The second half, and overtime, we played probably our best 24 minutes of this year. The kids did a great job. We made some big shots. Ashley Lechner made some big threes, we made some big foul shots, Lauren pulled some huge rebounds. I could say every kid’s name, we did a great job team-wise defensively and we shot a lot better in the second half. We executed better on offense, going from 19 turnovers in the first half to just eight in the second half and the two overtimes. I would like to have had a better first half, if we could do that for a whole game, who knows.”
Cessna began the fourth stanza with a bucket, Kayla Nave added a free throw and Amy Miller added two foul shots and Cessna hit again from short range to push the Lady Warriors back out to a 10-point lead at 47-37, but the Lady Blue Devils raced back to tie the game. Liz Erickson started the rally with a basket, Carter hit back-to-back buckets, Brittany Webb sank two free throws and Erickson tied the score with another two-pointer. Erickson had a last-second attempt at the buzzer, go in and out to force the first overtime.
After Carter scored to begin the OT, Cessna countered with a bucket and Miller’s foul shot gave Everett a 50-49 lead with 1:05 remaining. Lechner was fouled attempting a trey and calmly sank all three free throws to give B-A a 52-50 advantage.
Layton and Cessna hit baskets to send the Warriors into the lead, only to have Webb hit two of three foul shots to retie the game at 54-54 with 4.3 seconds left.
In the second four-minute overtime, Victoria Lombardo gave the Lady Blue Devils an early lead, by hitting two free throws, but Cessna and Layton combined for a pair of scores to flip-flop Everett back into the lead. Carter tied that at 58-58 with a rebound and putback. The lead see-sawed again, with Cessna hitting a pair of free throws and Jerrica Smith adding one from the charity stripe for a three-point Everett lead, only to have Lechner bury another triple to tie the game at 61-61. A Carter free throw gave B-A a 62-61 margin, but with 14.1 seconds left, Layton nailed the last of her three treys and Cessna added a foul shot for a 65-62 lead. Lombardo sank one foul shot to set the final score at 65-63.
In winning their 12th game of the season, Everett knew they were in a battle, but managed to escape a determined Lady Blue Devil squad that played probably their best half of the year, only to fall just a little bit short at the end.
Blue Devils Notes: Lechner scored a season-high 15 points…Three players fouled out during the game which saw a total of 56 free throws shot. Bellwood-Antis lost Jamie Smith at the 2:04 mark of the first overtime and Carter at the 6.6 mark of the second OT, Everett’s Jerrica Smith fouled out with 0:51 seconds remaining in the second overtime….Bellwood-Antis travels to Penns Valley on Friday with the junior varsity game beginning at 6 p.m.
Everett 65 Bellwood-Antis 63 2OT
Bellwood-Antis – Webb 0 4-5 4, Lechner 4 3-7 15, Carter 12 3-7 27, Erickson 3 0-0 6, Smith 1 2-2 4, Lombardo 2 3-4 7, Hunter 0 0-0 0, Parson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 22 15-23 63.
Everett – Miller 3 5-8 13, Layton 7 0-2 17, Barkman 1 0-0 2, 9 7-11 25, Nave 02-6 2, Foor 0 0-0 0, Shaw 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 22 16-33 65.
Score by Quarters
Bellwood-Antis 7 11 19 10 7 9 – 63
Everett 17 18 5 7 7 11 – 65
Three-point goals: Bellwood-Antis 4 (Lechner 4)
Everett 5 (Layton 3, Miller 2).